As we open up

Richard explains how the CFA reacted as Covid-19 unfolded – and what it plans to do next.

ON Sunday the 10 May, the prime minister specifically underlined the message that construction and manufacturing were actively being encouraged to go back to work. Following that a whole host of new documents came out that covered many trades including in principle domestic and commercial floorlaying.

It still left some individual challenges that the flooring sector needed to overcome and as I write this article on Wednesday 13 May, that is exactly what the CFA are doing. Working with our members and advisors to ensure that we provide the best support and information available for our sector.

My D Day, when I consider the world started to really change significantly, was Monday the 16 March. Of course, there had been rumblings and some changes already happening, but it accelerated on that day for the CFA and I would suggest the wider sector. Events and meetings we had planned, travel arrangements and a whole host of other things started to unravel or collapse like a house of cards. No sooner did you put the phone down dealing with one change than it rang again, and a similar scenario would unfold. By the end of that evening, as well as exhausted, I knew we were all in for a rough ride.

The following day we put some resilience plans in to place and had launched our blog for CFA members hosted on the CFA website at www.cfa.org.uk/blog/. This has built in both a historic record of how things have unfolded but also a “go to place” to find out what is relevant to you if you are in the flooring business; some of it quite specific and some of it broader. Much of the early information is still relevant and of course we continue to add content all the time as things progress.

One observation that generally seems to be consistent, whoever you talk to, is the pace of change. As we now go back to work, that is truer than ever as we wrestle with the need to find new ways to work safely on site and manage the risks that are specific to Covid-19. As such, I would suggest the following are worth consideration via the CFA:

  • CLC Guidance on Site Operating Procedures (SOP)
  • A Covid-19 risk assessment template, Covid-19 policy statement and Furlough return to work template
  • An HR consultant on hand for matters such as taking people out of Furlough
  • Additional health and safety support for members through our helpline
  • Daily updates on key areas on our blog www.cfa.org.uk/blog/
  • A legal helpline for any contractual issues
  • The CFA Forum on LinkedIn where the industry can share ideas, opportunities, and information about how their business is opening up. https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8917674/

Now of course, some of these benefits are only available to members and we have created a special area on our website that houses documents and templates that are Covid-19 specific. But as I say above, I am writing this in May, so take a look at our blog now for the latest information as things will no doubt have changed, and new information will be available. You can of course use Google and pull it all together yourself, or you can use the CFA website and benefits to save time and energy.

We are currently carrying out a survey to understand members needs and the CFA are contributing to work around PPE guidance. This will all be available through our website. We appreciate that direct client work, refurbishment, maintenance and improvement (RMI) may be slower to return and are happy to help members with specific questions. Guidance is of course different for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and reflected by the CFA blog.
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